At least once a month my partner and I like to head out on our date night to new and good restaurants that are creating a stir in the culinary world. Ideally, the food has to be of the best quality and the presentation has to be fresh, exciting and modern; so I’m always on the look out for recommended and new places to eat, pop-ups or foodie experiences.
For this month, I eventually managed to secure a booking at The Table, Dundas Street. I pass this place at least twice a day and had no idea that it was there. The restaurant is inconspicious. There is very little signage and the only give-away that the restaurant is here, is The Table logo frosted onto the wee window pane sited above the door.
On entering The Table, we were warmly greeted by Chef Sean and introduced to his brother Chef Keith. The space is long and narrow but with the use of some clever interior design ie a wall to ceiling mirror, the place has a feeling of space; and although I was informed on their website that the place seats 10, I was still taken aback that its a bar setting – 10 very large comfortable bar seats sit at a long bar. I dont want to call them bar stools as this conjurs up images of wooden, hard bar stools that just aren’t worth sitting on.
Sean took our bottles of wine (its BYOB) decanted the red and placed the white into a wine cooler. We had a quick chat with our fellow foodie diners but soon it was time to eat!
Canapes. We started with a very crispy pasta bite. Super crunchy – a very tasty wee morsel. Then onto the pate. This was in the shape of a grape. I’m not a fan of pate but gave this a go and I enjoyed it. Super liver-y (as you’d expect), very smooth and very creamy. Then came my favourite of the canapes – a very soft, sweet fig wrapped in pastry. I’d happily of eaten several of these.
First Course : Juming Jack Flash. Frogs legs with beetroot and hazelnuts. I’d never eaten frogs legs before and I was a little apprehensive to take a bite. I was very pleasantly surprised. The meat was very light in flavour, almost like chicken but not quite; it was more delicate. Before I knew it, I’d finished the dish. The beetroot and hazelnut added a nice tart and earthy taste to the meal.
Second Course : Elus Bakyn n Dyshes. Saffron risotto with smoked eel and red wine. Again eel isn’t a fish I’ve eaten and not something I would ever eat again; but saying that it didnt taste horrible – I think it’s more getting over the image of an eel that I have in my head (all slimey and slippery) than the actual fish that was served. The eel tasted like a very strongly smoked fish and it had the consistancy of a robust fish like monkfish. The eel cubes were served in the centre of the dish under the jellied red wine. The risotto was el dente, with a good flavour of saffron.
Third Course : Diamond in the Rough. Halibut with wild leeks. This dish was presented beautifully. The colours were so vibrant with the little orange flowers and the various ways the wild leeks had been plated. Halibut is one of my favourite fish and this was cooked to perfection. Flaky, soft and perfectly seasoned.
Fourth Course : Pigs (three different ones). Suckling pig with elderberry, sweet cicely, rhubard and onion. Each component of this dish complemented each other either through similar tastes or textures or by contrasting completely bringing a new taste dimension to the dish. The cicely is wonderful – it gives a strong liquorice/aniseed punch. Loved it!
Fifth Course : Black Forrest Gras-teau. Foie Gras with sour cherry, pumpernickel and dark chocolate. This plate looked gorgeous (it had chocolate in it so of course it’s going to be gorgeous!) and this definitely delivered on teasing the tastebuds. It wasnt quite savoury and it wasnt quite sweet. I dont particulary like Foie Gras and each component in this dish, when tasted individually, wasnt to my taste. But try a spoonful combining all the ingredients, and wow it worked! Super savoury salty with the Foie Gras, bitter sour with the cherry and dark chocolate and then the pumpernickel bread at the bottom. Umami!
Sixth Course – Werther’s Not so Original. Caramel powder inspired by Grant Achatz. This was so good. A simple spoon of powder that sucked every bit of moisture out of your mouth then turned into the best chewiest, most caramel toffee you’ve ever had. Genius!
Seventh Course – You’re Bounty Like This. Pineapple Tarte Tatin with Coconut Sorbet. This was served with dragonfruit. This dish was all nice and soft. The ice cream was like eating a coconut cloud and the tarte tatin was sticky with a soft chew.
Next up was a wee shot of Birchsap. Seemingly the next big thing in water.
Petit Fours – last but not least. Small bite sized sweet treats to end the night.
The evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Sean and Keith are chatty, informative and clever at what they do. The place has a lovely ambience full of contradictions – its intimate but your seated closely next to other diners, its casual and informal but its posh too. The food is fresh and seasonal, sourced from the best across the UK and prepared, cooked and plated right in front of you. Overall a great dining experience.
My Spoon Award : Gold Spoon